Preparing to Buy a House in Lake Mary
Per Zillow.com, home values in Orlando have gone up 7.7% and the real estate market in Central Florida is on the rise. The profitable property value has tempted thousands of new homebuyers and investors to focus on purchasing property right here in the Orlando area. Due to the increase in demand, rental rates have shot up to an average price of $1599/month. This makes it a great time to buy a home in Lake Mary, before the projected increase in late 2019. Interested in buying a house in Lake Mary? Here are a few key things to consider when buying a home in Lake Mary.
1. Know Your Credit Score
Knowing your credit score is one of the top priorities you should remember when purchasing any new home. Your credit score helps banks and lenders determine how likely you are to repay your debts. It plays a significant role when attempting to secure a mortgage. Credit scores range from 300-850. Your points will be based on several factors such as payment history, debt-to-income ratio, length of credit accounts, types of credit you use, and what you use the credit for. The higher your credit score, the more options, and purchasing power you will have. The average credit score is 725. You can still obtain a home loan with a score below 725, but your interest will be higher, increasing the cost of your home significantly over the length of your loan term. Overall, the higher your credit score, the less you will pay back borrowed money
2. Get Pre-Approved For A Lender – Shop Around
With lenders, they are a dime a dozen. Just about every banking entity owns or has a subsidiary or affiliate that offers mortgages. The key here is to get PRE-approved. Pre-approval; is not something you want to do when you are just looking or thinking about buying; it is something you want to do when you are certain you are searching for your new home. Research different lenders, compare rates, terms, interest, incentives, etc. The goal here is to find a lender you are comfortable with, that offers you the loan product you need. When you are ready, you can submit a pre-approval application. This will allow the lender access to your credit reports, banking history (or whatever other criteria) to let you know how much house you can afford, based on your current credit and financial standings. This will also let you know exactly how much a lender is will loan you, so you know what price range of homes you can afford. If you are already home shopping, you can still get pre-approved. It will let you have the flexibility of immediately executing your “buy now” button, should you encounter a house you like.
It is ok to get pre-approved from more than one lender, just as long as you do it within a certain time frame without it double-dinging your credit score. Lenders know you are comparing rates in your home searching process. It may also create some friendly competition in the process. If buying from a builder, usually their affiliated lenders can offer extra incentives that they do not accept from other lenders. Something to think about that can lower your overall costs.
3. Work With A Skilled Realtor That Knows The Area
The long-running joke is there are more people in Florida with real estate licenses than driver’s licenses. It may not be too far from the truth. Do your research when using a Real Estate Agent in Orlando. They can be a licensed Real Estate agent or a member of the National Association of Realtors. Just make sure they are licensed and knowledgeable. Ask them the right questions focusing on comparable price points to schools, traffic, locations of nearest hospitals, grocery stores, crime rates, etc. Your sales agent should be very familiar with the Lake Mary housing market.
4. Buy Within Your Budget
Too often, homebuyers either lose a home before closing or end up in foreclosure due to purchasing more home than they can afford. Central Florida is filled with both resale and new construction properties in Lake Mary. Each has its own set of financial demands. You can purchase a resale that might need a new roof and AC unit in a few years, or you may buy a new build with a CDD and monthly HOA fees. Either way, factor in the additional cost such as maintenance, repairs, and even closing costs. Depending on the mortgage product you choose, you are looking at a 20% down payment to avoid having to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). Your lender will require you to protect their investment. This is differs from homeowners’ insurance.
Understand how much your home costs up front, and factor in what your home will continue to cost. You can prepare by having your agent and lender figure out your P.I.T.I.; payment, interest, taxes, and insurance. Ask about warranties on things that may be included to help offset some of those additional costs. Also, ask about the overall cost vs the monthly payment. Sometimes, you can actually afford more house than you think broken down over a 30-year mortgage. There is no such thing as too many questions when purchasing your new home.
5. Understand Any HOA Rules & Regulations Before You Buy
Homeowners’ Associations (HOA’s) are common in Central Florida. Each HOA is unique and responsible for different parts of the property, but the goal is to keep the community clean, safe, up-to-date, and presentable. Some HOA’s include amenity centers, landscaping, street maintenance, etc, and some do not. Ask for the HOA information, how they bill, the price, and what is covered. Some of your other incidental upkeep costs might actually be covered by your HOA fees. Each HOA also has a set of rules all homeowners must abide by. These rules are agreed upon by the association and homeowners and usually cover paint colors, signage in yards, parking on lawns, allowing flags or decorations, etc.
Deed restricted communities are similar but take it a step further. Deed restrictions set rules on every homeowner’s property in that community. If a resident does not abide by them, the HOA can put a lien against the property until compliance is met and citations are paid. The goal is to help keep your property values up.
6. Know The Potential Growth Of Your Investment
Real estate, much like diamonds, is one of the most worthwhile investments you can own. However, remember that property values can fluctuate. It is wise to keep up with the value of your home and request an appraisal at least once every 5 years. Keep documentation on any major repairs you make, as that can add to/maintain the value of your home. Use a reputable appraisal company. It is also wise to find someone well versed in real estate to get comparable property values for similar homes in your area. This is especially important when trying to sell a home in Lake Mary. You want to pick a realistic value to sell your home.
7. The Benefits Of Using A Real Estate Attorney When Buying A Home
Purchasing a new home in Lake Mary is a major investment. During the home buying process, you’ll find yourself bombarded with pages of lengthy contracts filled with technical real estate jargon. Having a trusted advisor by your side to help you translate the home buying contracts and agreements incorporated in purchasing a property helps navigate the ins and outs of buying a home with less stress. A Real Estate Attorney is there to provide legal support every step of the way from contracting a real estate agent, purchasing a house in Lake Mary, making sure the title is clear, warranties are set, deeds, fair housing, etc.
Here at Bitman O’Brien & Morat, PLLC in Lake Mary, we pride ourselves in being a diversified law firm. As seasoned real estate attorneys, our firm handles both residential and commercial real estate. We have experience in title issues, liens, warranties, closings, property damage, foreclosures, and more. Rather than having a separate attorney for the title Bitman O’Brien & Morat, PLLC, closing, and warranty; the attorneys of Bitman Law Firm can address all of your needs.
Central Florida will have 5 million new residents during the next decade. We hope you’re one of them. If you’re pre-approved and interested in buying a home in Lake Mary we would love to help you protect your investment. Contact Bitman O’Brien & Morat, PLLC before you sign on the dotted line and buy your new home.
Still, have questions? Call us: Bitman O’Brien & Morat, PLLC